- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 24, 2011

BEIJING (AP) - China says it will pump $4.6 billion this year into expanding public health services such as free vaccinations and routine checkups for children under 6 years of age.

The health ministry said Tuesday the funds will be used to upgrade health programs and services. It raised the age limit for children to receive 13 free health services from 3 to 6.

The ministry says free services such as comprehensive physical examinations will also be available to pregnant women and people over 65.

The move is part of China’s $124 billion efforts to reform the health system over three years starting in 2009. Public health care in China has been underfunded for years and the high cost and poor access for health services are among the public’s biggest complaints.

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